Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Night of the Iguana comes to Smithfield

In Ava Gardner's Mexico, men, like maracas, come in two's:

Night of the Iguana will make an interesting projection in downtown Smithfield this Thursday night, with all that's been going on in Johnston County.

In case you haven't heard, Sheriff Steve Bizzell faces calls for his resignation over disparaging remarks he made about Mexicans; a prayer vigil is slated for 3 pm Sunday (9/28) in front of the Johnston County courthouse in Smithfield. If you want to add your name to an online petition condemning Sheriff Bizzell's remarks, you can do so here.

Meanwhile, Night of the Iguana, the John Huston film made in Mexico and starring Smithfield native Ava Gardner, will be shown free, outdoors in Smithfield Town Hall Park Thursday (9/25) at 8 pm. The screening is part of the 4th annual Ava Gardner Film Festival that lasts through Saturday.

Richard Burton stars as a disgraced preacher-turned-tour-operator, seduced by the gingham hotpants on an underage American tourist from a small Baptist town--one perhaps not wildly unlike Smithfield. Gardner plays not the blonde Lolita, but a middle-aged American motel owner, living in Mexico on her own terms.

While the film, based on a Tennessee Williams play, serves up some sultry stereotypes about Mexico, it also tackles sexual repression, and ends up offering an impassioned plea for sexual tolerance and personal freedom.

Filmed in Puerta Vallarta in 1963, Night of the Iguana brought a flood of American tourism to the town--for better and worse. Here, one travel writer describes the film's long-term effects on Puerta Vallarta.

The Ava Gardner Film Festival includes quirky short subjects and docs on a wide range of other subjects, as well as several of her full-blown Hollywood features. Get the whole picture here.

Also on the festival calendar: a musical performance by Clang Quartet's Scotty Irving paired with the doc film about him, Armor of God, at 7 pm on Saturday (9/27).

1 comment:

phil said...

Wow. So interesting to read about the movie since it's not widely known, and since even the tour guides in PV will tell you that it isn't an important movie.

The reviewer you link to assigns it much more significance, and I appreciate reading about it.

I doubt my folks will trek to Smithfield to see it, but maybe they'll dig it up some other way. Or more likely, maybe I'll do it for them.